Jalatlaco is a traditional, street-art-filled neighborhood (barrio) in Oaxaca that, once you visit, you’ll feel like you’ve opened up a hidden treasure chest.
To sum it up, Jalatlaco abounds with colorful street art, cobbled streets, and cozy cafes.
But the second best part? It’s located just a 10-minute walk outside of the Oaxaca Historic Center. That said, Jalatlaco is a must-see place to visit on any Oaxaca City itinerary.
As you might guess, the diverse and vivid street art by local Oaxacan and Zapotec artists is the main draw to this artsy neighborhood.
But there’s more to see and do in Jalatlaco than you’d expect!
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For starters, Jalatlaco is teeming with history.
At its origin, prior to Spanish arrival, Jalatlaco was a Zapotec village. And according to this article, in the Zapotec language, Jalatlaco means “sand canyon.”
(On a side note, I wonder if “sand canyon” had anything to do with Día de Muertos—with the sand tapestries, tapetes de arena? Seeing as this traditional neighborhood particularly comes alive for Day of the Dead celebrations in Oaxaca, it could make sense! If anyone knows of the reasoning for its true etymology, please let me know.)
In any case, now, many centuries later, Jalatlaco has retained its village-like charm, character, and colonial architecture—all of which you can discover at your own pace via its quaint (and nearly traffic-free) cobbled streets.
In Jalatlaco today, you’ll find color-splashed walls full of symbology, history, and culture, and handfuls of old, abandoned buildings converted into independent art studios and galleries, artisanal and organic shops, typical Oaxacan coffee shops, and more.
And in this guide to Jalatlaco, Oaxaca, I’ll spill the tea on how to see it all in one day.
PS. As you walk around Jalatlaco, pay extra attention to the walls—they have a lot to say!
Read more below to discover the barrio de Jalatlaco and its best restaurants, hotels, art murals, and more! ✨ 🎨 ☠️
Guide: El Barrio de Jalatlaco in Oaxaca
Where Is the Jalatlaco Neighborhood in Oaxaca?
Now that you know what Jalatlaco is about, where can you find it?
Jalatlaco is located just ten minutes northeast of the Centro Historíco. You can easily get there on foot from the Santo Domingo Plaza/Temple.
Pass by El Llano park on your way—the transition from the “capital city” vibe to the traditional neighborhood via the small and unassuming Zárate street is great.
Plus, if you arrive in Jalatlaco via Calle Zárate, you’ll have the opportunity to see the arched “entrance sign” to the Jalatlaco neighborhood.
While the barrio of Jalatlaco is outlined in red dots on Google (as shown below), the area just east of El Llano between the two highways/pereferico (in yellow) includes Jalatlaco.
As such, you’ll find eateries, boutiques, and hotels still considered to be located in Jalatlaco, even if it doesn’t lie exactly within the shown perimeters.
On the outskirts, to the very north, of the Jalatlaco neighborhood lies the Guerreros de Oaxaca Baseball Stadium and the Centro de Autobuses ADO which is where you can hop on a shuttle or bus to go on one of the popular day trips from Oaxaca (e.g. Tlacolula, Mitla, Hierve El Agua, etc).
And to the south, near the perefirico 175, lies the Mercado de la Merced. It’s one of the main markets to visit in Oaxaca if you want to check it out.
For the rest of this guide, I’ll mainly feature activities and points of interest located inside the heart of Jalatlaco!
The Best Things to See & Do in Jalatlaco
1. Stroll the Streets in Search of Jalatlaco’s Street Art
Street art is all over the place in Jalatlaco—splashed on the exterior of restaurants, cafes, houses, and more.
While you can wander the colorful calles of Jalatlaco on your own, you might consider taking a street art tour to understand the significance of each mural and learn more about the artists.
- 🚴 Half-Day Biking Street Art Tour (Jalatlaco, Xochimilco, etc)
- 🎨 Oaxaca City Street Art Walking Tour
If you prefer to wander in the whimsical streets at your own pace, my advice would be to walk up and down Calle Aldama.
Smaller streets fork off from here, so you can safely get lost and find your way back by making a loop around Calle 5 de Mayo.
2. Visit the Quaint Templo San Matias of Jalatlaco
The Parroquia San Matías Jalatlaco is the little crown jewel of the Jalatlaco neighborhood.
It might not compare in regality to the iconic Templo de Santo Domingo de Guzmán, but it certainly has its own character.
Something you’ll notice about the smaller San Matías Temple, versus others in Oaxaca City, is its brightly-painted belfry on one side adorned in vivid yellow, blue, and red.
Other characteristics of the San Matías church are its geometric shapes carved into its stonework and its small courtyard.
If you’re visiting Oaxaca during the spring, you’ll probably get to see the pink, hairy blossoms in bloom on the beautiful Coquito tree (known in English as the shaving brush tree, Dr Seuss tree, or amapola tree / source).
The church remains very local, hosting numerous events throughout the year for residents, and often is host to weddings.
3. Snap a Photo of the Jalatlaco Entrance Arch
As I mentioned above, the best way to get acquainted with the neighborhood is by entering via the official Barrio Jalatlaco sign.
To get here, walk straight beyond El Llano park (with it on your left) and follow the small Zárate street to Calle Miguel Hidalgo.
From here, follow the flag-strewn street all the way up until you reach the next point of interest, the San Mátias Temple.
As you see, almost the second you arrive in the Jalatlaco neighborhood, street art will be everywhere. I couldn’t keep count!
4. Peek Inside Independent Art Studios & Galleries
While there are a lot of art galleries centralized around the Centro Historíco, more and more, independent artists are moving into the quieter Jalatlaco neighborhood.
For example, our artist friend Jaime, whose drawings and illustrations you will no doubt see in restaurants and boutique stores during your trip, has his newly-opened art studio in Jalatlaco.
If you’re in the neighborhood (which you will be), go say hi! His studio is called Once in Oaxaca and is tucked away on a corner on Calle Curtidurías next to a cozy café.
5. Say Hello to Rescue Kitties at This Vegan Cat Café
Right at the southern end of Calle Aldama is a rescue (vegan) cat café called La Selva de los Gatos.
As cat lovers (and owners), we obviously had to go!
If you are familiar with my story, then you will know that we travel full-time with our cat (Yoda). In 2021, he underwent amputation to treat his FISS cancer.
So, as you can imagine, we were delighted to see fellow tripod cats being well taken care of inside this rescue cat café.
The cafe is a large outdoor enclosure and is nice to visit on a sunny day! Plus, if the kitchen serves fresh agua del día, salty snacks, and pastries.
While all of that is wonderful, the reason to go is mainly so you can give some love to the kikis. 😻
6. Shop Local at Artisanal Boutiques
There are a handful of cute boutiques and artisanal shops and markets in Jalatlaco! To name a few:
- Merakki — A cute knitting store with Oaxacan yarn, macrame, and other crafts.
- Mujer de Café — This artisanal coffee shop is the perfect place to pick up Oaxacan coffee to go!
- La Garrapeta de la Oveja — An art/gallery studio with ceramics, paintings, and more.
- Mangata Mercado Local Jalatlaco — Local food, beauty products, clothing, and more can be found in this local neighborhood market!
- Alma Raíz — An organic and artisanal market on the edge of Jalatlaco.
- Dantana Rock — A quaint, used book and music store with new/old books and vintage vinyl and CDs.
- Tienda Alebrijes Blas — This is a colorful and cute store full of alebrijes, perfect for supporting local folk art and taking home an Oaxacan souvenir. It’s on the other side of the boulevard, so perhaps not technically in Jalatlaco.
🍴 For a bite to eat in Jalatlaco, I recommend heading to either Santa Hierba or the Casa Armadillo Negro.
8. Grab Some Oaxacan Coffee, Chocolate, or Ice Cream
Speaking of yummy places to visit in Jalatlaco, the neighborhood has many little hole-in-wall coffee shops and ice cream shops (heladarías).
As soon as you walk beyond the temple, you can’t miss the iconic Cocuche Café, splattered in dark blue paint and Day of the Dead art.
Here are more places to visit if you are a sweet tooth or are in the mood for coffee and a treat!
- Dark Heladería (ooh, black ice cream!)
- Besos Helados Gelateria
- La Selva de los Gatos (vegan)
- Café Blasón
- ME Brew Art & Coffe Art
7. Get Work Done at the Jalatlaco Co-working Space
Céntrico Co-work is a great place to get some work done over reliable Wi-Fi while roaming around Jalatlaco.
They have packages for daily or monthly use (I believe the day rate was $200 pesos or about $10 USD), plus complimentary coffee/tea.
If you’re a digital nomad in Oaxaca City, it’s one of the few coworking places you can go to. However, we always preferred to spend that day rate on food and pop down in a cafe in Oaxaca Centro with good Wi-Fi instead.
Nonetheless, it’s good to know just in case you need a couple of hours to get some work in before you continue exploring!
Where to Stay in Jalatlaco
If you’ve fallen in love with Jalatlaco already, then I’d highly recommend that you decide to stay in this neighborhood while you visit Oaxaca.
For one, you will be just a 10-minute walk away from the Centro Historíco. And two, Jalatlaco is much quainter and quieter than other places to stay in Oaxaca.
Either way, here are my recommendations for hotels in Jalatlaco that have just as much character as the neighborhood itself!
- El City Centro (4-star hotel) is idyllically located on the corner of Calle Aldama in the heart of Jalatlaco.
- Casa Grana Cochinilla is a modern and cozy boutique hotel ideal for one-night stays in Jalatlaco.
- Paraje La Huerta is a family-owned hotel that offers an authentic, comfortable stay in the heart of the neighborhood.
- Hotel Tabáa is another top-rated 4-star hotel. The exposed brick and white-washed walls give this hotel a rustic yet luxurious atmosphere.
Jalatlaco has many more hidden gems to discover, so you might want to give yourself a full day to enjoy it!
If you are on a tight schedule, remember you can also see the highlights of Jalatlaco (with a focus on street art) on a guided tour.
One of my favorite memories of Oaxaca is exploring Jalatlaco for a full day; wandering into shops and art studios and taking my time in cafes.
I hope you’ll have a positive experience as well!
Please remember to visit these places mindfully and responsibly.
Lastly, if you have any lingering questions about what to do and see in Jalatlaco, please drop me a comment below!
PIN THIS GUIDE TO JALATLACO, OAXACA